Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Unconnected Employees

In the May copy of T+D (Training+Development) from ASTD, Anne Baber & Lynne Waymon provide an interesting article on 'Uncovering the Unconnected Employee'.

Unconnected Employees are defined as those who "lack the skills to build effective business relationships".

They provide a list of "8 Ways employees who don't network can hurt your business". This includes:

  • They get off to a slow start as new hires (which links to the theme of a recent post on this blog)
  • They are less successful managers (according to recent work published in the Academy of Management Journal: "Successful managers spend 70% more time networking...")
  • They don't know how to make their expertise known, so it can be used, and so they can advance in their careers.

A further check-list of 9 items is provided to assess "Is Your Organisation Network Friendly ?"

Particularly relevant for L&D/HR professionals are the following items:

  • Is networking training offered ?
  • Are networking activities included in employee performance plans ?
  • Are people rewarded for networking successes ?

What I found particularly interesting was the discussion presented on "Why employees aren't better relationship builders".

  • As to be expected: "Layoffs, mergers and acquisitions - these and other organisational earthquakes damage internal networks. Companies, however rarely help people rebuild them."
  • Less expected is the information that "Americans are becoming more shy" ... and Gen Y employees are the shyest (perhaps a better way of thinking about this is that overall they have lost some of the face-to-face interpersonal skills, because they 'balance' this with more intensive virtual collaboration than previous generations ... another driver for Enterprise 2.0 ?!)

To conclude, the authors state:

"We believe that creating networking competency is essential to support employee engagement, alignment and inclusion"

agreed !